Jason Witten has as much chance of returning to the Cowboys as Mike Ditka, Billy Joe DuPree, Doug Cosbie, Jay Novacek or any of their other former tight ends. In other words, Witten is not coming out of retirement.
ESPN created a non-story story about an ESPN employee Sunday, saying Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has made multiple attempts, including “some of which came in recent weeks,” to get Witten to return “and help the Cowboys in their postseason push.”
The story generated headlines, questions and buzz. It ignored one important caveat.
Witten is on the Cowboys’ reserve/retired list. Players on the reserve/retired list can’t be reinstated after Week 13, according to the NFL. ESPN posted the story after Week 13.
The only way for a retired player to return would be for the team to waive him from the reserve/retired list with no guarantees of him passing through waivers unclaimed.
Garrett and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones both denied trying to entice Witten to return. Witten, who, since he is an employee of ESPN, surely knew the story was coming ahead of time, was forced to address it, though he didn’t deny it.
“There’s nothing there,” the Monday Night Football analyst said on ESPN, via the Dallas Morning News. “Look, I’m enjoying where I’m at. Those guys are red hot. They don’t need to change a thing with the way they’re playing, and the way that defense is playing.
“They’re in good shape and so am I.”